For youngsters – Trolls (2016)
Trolls is a real charmer about happiness, where animation will keep the children amused while the adults play spot the voice – listen for Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Russell Brand, John Cleese and James Corden among others. But fear looms when hungry beasts snatch inhabitants from the trolls’ idyllic village, and Poppy, the “happiest troll”, leads the adventure into the outside world to save them.
For romantics – The Light Between Oceans (2016)
Moral crises abound in this romantic psychodrama. Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave) stars as a WWI hero with survivor’s guilt-related PTSD, who seeks solitude and finds love with Isabel (Alicia Vikander) by taking a job as keeper of a remote lighthouse off the coast of Western Australia. After two pregnancies fail, fate delivers a washed-up boat containing a live baby, which the couple “adopt”. All is well, until a trip to the mainland reveals the toddler’s real mum (Rachel Weisz) and the couple’s plan starts to unravel. Bryan Brown and Jack Thompson complete a great cast.
For comic fans – Doctor Strange (2016)
This adventure from Marvel Studios is a sort of Harry Potter for the more grown up. Benedict Cumberbatch swaps Sherlock’s cape for a cloak of a very different colour (and its own IQ) as he morphs from wounded neurosurgeon into time-and-location-hopping martial arts maestro and all-round superhero. A world-threatening spell falls into the hands of villain Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale’s chilling Le Chiffre), whom Doctor Strange and The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton, hotly tipped to be the next Doctor Who) must destroy. A cracking, super-powered action film.
For thrill-seekers – The Girl on the Train (2016)
This mystery thriller based on Paula Hawkins’ bestseller leads us through reveal after reveal until the final shocking twist. Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada; Young Victoria) stars as recovering alcoholic Rachel, who’s haunted by losing everything through her drinking, including her husband, her home and much of her memory. Day after day, she rides a commuter train into New York, with only sneak peeks into the home of a “perfect” couple to keep her going. When she sees the wife in the arms of another man, she’s shattered, and it awakes her fury at being betrayed by her own spouse. Then the woman goes missing… With all the flashbacks, flash-forwards and jangling music, you start to feel rather tipsy yourself as this tantalising tale unfolds. Rebecca Ferguson (Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation) and Justin Theroux co-star.
For drama lovers – Nocturnal Animals (2016)
Fashion designer-turned-film writer/producer/director Tom Ford (A Single Man) has once again brought his trademark elegance to the big screen. Parallel tales involve a wife (Amy Adams) in a doomed second marriage, who reads an unsolicited copy of her ex-husband’s first novel, and a film-within-a-film telling of the novel’s story of a hijack, rape, murder and relentless revenge. Also starring Oscar-nominated Michael Shannon and Jake Gyllenhaal.